The study developed a sustainable curriculum in which one smart technology (drone) was employed to inspire student learning. The study investigated the effect of using drones on the development of students’ spatial visualization and sequencing skills and examined related instructional tasks for drone use in the classroom. An after-school drone-flying program was developed at a public elementary school in Taiwan, with 10 third-grade students voluntarily participating in a six-week educational experiment. During drone programming training, young children used a visual block programming language on tablet computers to code lightweight drones. A two-phase research model was adopted to collect the necessary information. In the first phase of the model, a design-based research methodology facilitated the overall instruction preparation process for the four-week workshops. The second phase of the model emphasized a mixed-method research approach, employing a quasi-experimental pretest and post-test design to analyze the effect of drone use and a qualitative method to observe students’ learning behavior and programming work. The results showed that drone programming significantly improved students’ learning of spatial visualization and sequencing skills. Gender, as a potential variable, only influenced students’ programming patterns. Specific programming styles, learning behaviors, and instructional design issues were identified for further discussion.
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